Radiophonic Reunion: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Concert at the Roundhouse

In 2009, a remarkable thing happened: a BBC Radiophonic Workshop concert at the Roundhouse in London. Dick Mills, Roger Limb, Paddy Kingsland, Peter Howell, and Mark Ayres gathered together with a brass section and a live drummer to perform some of the Workshop’s greatest hits, including music from Doctor Who and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. 

There has not been a full video or audio release of this event, but bootlegged pieces of it are available on YouTube and Vimeo (just search for “radiophonic workshop roundhouse” and kiss your afternoon goodbye). The piece above is an odds-and-ends selection of bits from the show, frustratingly incomplete, but fun to watch all the same—I quite like the bit with Dick Mills at the beginning playing a VCS3. At 1:15, note the crowd reactions to Daphne Oram’s name—and in particular to the reference to the BBC’s closure of the Workshop.

The whole concert—what we can see of it, anyway, in these bits and pieces—is really quite moving. Because it really is genuinely wonderful to see these jobbing musicians and composers, who for so long laboured in near obscurity, getting the adulation they’ve earned. And of course you cannot help but think of those who have gone and never quite received that recognition in their lifetimes, and be a little sad.